Europe heat wave shuts Greece’s Acropolis, prompts red alerts in Italy

Parts of southern Europe are sweltering under a heat wave, with a historic monument forced to close in Greece as authorities in several countries issued warnings over the high temperatures.

Cyprus’s meteorology department warned of extreme heat on Saturday, with temperatures expected to reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit (44 Celsius) in inland areas, while Italy’s Health Ministry issued red alerts for over a dozen cities, including the capital Rome, and warned people to avoid heat and direct sun during the hottest hours. Germany, meanwhile, announced heat warnings for about half the country.

In Greece’s Attica region, home to the capital Athens, temperatures were predicted to reach up to 104 degrees (40 Celsius) on Saturday. Extreme temperatures on Friday prompted authorities to temporarily close one of the city’s most recognizable monuments, the Acropolis, as Red Cross staff handed out bottled water to tourists waiting in line.

The Spanish island of Mallorca could see temperatures as high as 102.2 degrees (39 Celsius) on Saturday, according to the country’s Weather Service.

What extreme heat does to the human body

The heat wave over many parts of southern Europe has been caused by a high-pressure system that has been nicknamed Cerberus after the multi-headed dog said to guard the underworld in ancient Greek mythology.

Earlier this week, the European Space Agency predicted heat of up to 118.4 degrees (48 Celsius) on the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia — and said temperatures could surpass the continent’s previous record of almost 120 degrees (48.8 Celsius) recorded in Sicily in August 2021.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, a heat dome across the southern and western United States is expected to cause record temperatures this weekend, with triple-digit temperatures forecast in at least 10 states.

Extreme heat wave to shatter records this weekend over southern U.S.

Earlier this month, the world experienced its hottest week on record, according to preliminary data from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service have all described June 2023 as the hottest June ever on record.

This July 4 was hot. Earth’s hottest day on record, in fact.

Scientists warned earlier this summer that El Niño, the infamous climate pattern, had returned for the first time in four years and could push average global temperatures beyond a record set in 2016.

This year, a U.N. climate change report found the planet is likely to pass a dangerous temperature threshold within the decade, which would push the planet past the point of catastrophic warming.

World is on brink of catastrophic warming, U.N. climate change report says

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